The audio industry is swarming by headphones of all sorts, when it comes to the price and quality of these headphones, the sky becomes the limit. For an ordinary Joe, any pair of headphones that produces a louder, clearer sound is the perfect one. However, an audiophile would always look for the highest amount of performance regardless of the price.
This is where high fidelity or commonly known as Hi-Fi headphones come into play. Now these high fidelity headphones might look the same to you as any other pair of headphones but they are better in almost every single department. They produce the most accurate sound every time you put them on, without any distortion so the listener can enjoy the music as it is supposed to be enjoyed.
With performance comes the insane price-tag these high fidelity headphones carry, but considering that these headphones are made for audiophiles, the price issue seems to vanish. To help you choose the best hi-fi headphone, we have penned down a comprehensive list of 10 best high end headphones that you can buy.
Do keep in mind that these headphones come with a premium price-tag so if you are looking for something affordable, this list isn’t for you.
Top 10 Best High End Headphones 2019:
We are going to start the list by adding something luxurious; the Ultrasone Signature Proheadphones. Before we begin, we would like to let you know that these are audiophile grade headphones and cost a rough equivalent of a pretty good, high-end gaming PC. If you are still not appalled. Let’s take a look at the Ultrasone Signature Pro headphones.
The headphones come with user replaceable cables, the ear-cups are made out of genuine leather, the design is completely foldable. The Signature Pro headphones are sturdy and can work even if you drop them from above 10 feet on a concrete floor, several times.
The sound of these headphones is amazing, they are without a doubt, one of the finest high-fidelity headphones you can buy for the money. Despite carrying quite a heft, the headphones are quite comfortable even if you wear them for a longer period of time.
At a $1,300 price tag, there is nothing wrong with the Ultrasone Signature Pro headphones. The German made headphones are a dream come true for any audiophile and offer a lot in terms of performance if you are willing to pay the price.
Sennheiser has more of an all-rounder approach that caters to customers with all price groups. However, we are not here to talk about IEMs or your ordinary headphones, this list is all about high end headphones and this is where the HD800 comes in.
If you think about these being the most expensive headphones by Sennheiser, then think again; the Orpheus by Sennheiser remains the most expensive headphones at the price tag of $50,000. However, that isn’t the point here. The Sennheiser HD800 are one of the top-tier high-fidelity headphones you can buy provided you have the money for them.
The headphones are known for their superior sound, each headphone is handmade and tested in Germany before being shipped out. This means the quality unlike anything you will ever get to see. The headphone cable can be detached and the HD800 happens to be one of the most comfortable headphones you will get to use.
The headphones are made to use with amplifiers and won’t do justice if you are using them with your iPods or MP3 players. You can always get a portable DAC if you plan on doing so. However, do keep in mind that you will need a 3.5mm converter if you plan on doing so as the HD800 come with the 6.3mm mono-plug.
A lot of people don’t know but Sony happens to be one of the best companies for audiophile grade products, thankfully, the products aren’t that expensive so a common consumer who’s willing to shed some cash on a good pair of headphones can have a lot to choose from.
The Sony MDR-Z7 are company’s top of the line over-ear headphones that provide excellent value for money, the headphones are known for giving a super comfortable design with an audio quality that is perfectly balanced and articulated, the sound stage on the MDR-Z7 also happens to be really wide, wide enough to make the listener wonder if they are open back or not. The pair ships with 2 extra cables.
Considering how only audiophiles will be buying these headphones, the price becomes a subjective issue, the only real gripe we have had with the MDR-Z7 was that the headphones don’t ship with a carrying case, this can be a real deal breaker for people who don’t want to have the headphones around their neck while they travel, a lot.
4.) Shure SRH1540
Shure has been on the roll for quite some time, the company has created some of the best headphones brands and earphones alike. Unlike many other companies, Shure has strictly focused on the high-end stuff, thus the aggressive pricing and expert craftsmanship that can be found in almost all of their products.
Today, we are going to talk about the SRH1540 by Shure, surely, these headphones are audiophile grade and you can tell by the looks. As compared to some of the other headphones we have written about in this list, the SRH1540 are comparatively cheaper. However, don’t let the price hold you back as they still manage to be really capable.
For the starters, the Shure SRH 1540 are exceptionally good when it comes to delivering good and well balanced audio quality, if you are looking for something comfortable and lightweight, then these headphones are best suited for your need despite the large footprint they carry. People who like to travel a lot will be pleased to know that these headphones do come with an amazing hard carrying case for added portability.
Sadly though, these headphones do have few downsides; there are no controls or in-line microphone on the default as well as on the 2 extra cables. Lastly, if you want something to play bass-heavy music, then you will be disappointed as they don’t provide enough bass.
5.) Grado RS2e
Your mainstream audiophile wouldn’t know about Grado, so let’s shed some light on the company, shall we?
Grado has been hand-crafting audiophile grade products since the 50s. Yes, the 50s. The products from Grado are truly one of a kind, thanks to the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into manufacturing them.
Such is the story with Grado’s RS2e, audiophile grade headphones that might be one of the best sounding pair of headphones we have had the honour to test. Before we begin, there are some things you should know about these headphones, the RS2e come with genuine mahogany earcups. Yes, you have heard it right. In case you are looking for more luxury, the headband is made out of genuine leather.
On the technical side, the Grado RS2e is one of the best high end headphones, the overall sound quality is amazing and perfectly balanced. The features are amazing on these headphones, however, it is sad to state that Grado sacrificed quite lot on the comfort side; although these headphones look amazing and feel premium, the comfort level isn’t what we would wanted.
We are by no means stating that they are bad with comfort, the real issue occurs when you start wearing them for longer time. Overall, the Grado RS2e are stellar headphones with a lot to offer.
6.) Sony MDR-1ADAC
The MDR-1ADAC from Sony are a must for any audiophile, for those who don’t know, these headphones come with an amplifier/DAC built right into them and a feature like this is a show stopper for any audiophile. One of the best thing about these headphones is that they can easily be purchased without breaking your bank.
During our tests, it was revealed that the MDR-1ADAC are probably one of the best sounding headphones we have used in the price group, not only that, the comfort level in the longer runs was also very elegant. The headphones have a perfectly balanced weight and design.
One great thing about these headphones is that you can easily use them with your MP3 player or smartphone and get amazing audio quality, thanks to the built-in amplifier/DAC. The Sony MDR-1ADAC are the perfect headphones that can be used for different purposes such as gaming, listening to music and watching movies. At the given price-tag, one can’t ask for more.
7.) Audiofly AF180
Audiofly is a company that runs on the motto “built for music”, at first you might see it as a bit of an exaggeration, but the company has proven time and again that it is here for business. Today, we are going to talk about the Audiofly AF180. What sets the AF180 apart from the others in our list is that the AF180 are in-fact IEMs, something that has been frowned upon by the audiophile community.
The AF180 are stylish looking earphones that are equally good with the performance, the bass is rich and sound amazing, treble is surprisingly well balanced and detailed.
One surprising thing is how good the sound-stage of these earphones are, surprising because earphones aren’t known for having an amazing sound-stage. Although the earphones don’t have any active noise-cancellation, the passive one is there to do a fantastic job.
Yes, these wonderful earphones do have few drawbacks; with such an amazing audio quality, the mids seem to have a lesser impact, the cable that is included with the earphones might seem flimsy to some at some points.
Lastly, the AF180 by Audiofly cost a ridiculous $500 at the time of publishing this review. This price tag is more than its over-ear competitors.
We have written home about the Audio Technica time and again, today we are back with another product from the amazing company. The Audio Technica ATH-A700 is one of the best in business and provides a lot of high grade stuff and maintains one of the best price to performance ratio we have seen.
The headphones deliver superb audio quality and are one of the sturdiest ones we have used, the overall construction of the headphones is quite lightweight which is a good thing especially if you want to wear them for a longer period of time.
The headphones have an amazing sound-stage that fits well for audiophiles as well as gamers who are always looking for a wider sound-stage. This came as a surprise since these headphones don’t look like something that would be made for gamers.
The headphones are comfortable, however, the overall structure is quite bulky. Luckily, it doesn’t become an issue as the frame happens to be quite lightweight. Do keep in mind that the ATH-A700 are the cheapest in the list but still manage to give you a lot of value.
The Shure SE112 are perhaps the most affordable offering in our list, the earphones cost less than a $100 and are one of the best sounding IEMs you can get. Of course, with the given price, you’d be expect that you won’t be getting much. However, this isn’t the case with these IEMs as they are amazing when it comes to price to performance ratio.
Despite a lower price, the overall quality of the IEMs manages to remain solid, the wire is thick and won’t break off easily and the comfort level is surprisingly good for longer runs. The earphones come in a rather minimal packaging which isn’t a bad thing considering the price.
Moving on to the technical sides, the Shure SE112 are probably one of the best sounding IEMs we have tested. Surprisingly, the earphones offer some really great passive noise-isolation, something you hardly find in affordable earphones.
Sadly, the earphones don’t ship with an in-line microphone or any controls, but considering the price you are paying for these, this little issue can be ignored.
We are concluding the list by adding the Sennheiser HD 598. As compared to the beastly HD800, these are comparatively a lot cheaper but manage to maintain the amazing quality and sound stage that Sennheiser is known for. The HD 598’s are probably one of the most affordable high-end over-ear headphones you can buy right now.
The headphones offer a great level of comfort, and if you are looking for something that looks and performs exceptionally well, the HD 598’s are for you. The headphones offer a step away from Sennheiser’s usual black and grey colour scheme to a much more pleasing beige and brown colour scheme and it works really well. The overall construction is rather lightweight, however, the headphones still manage to maintain their structural rigidity.
The overall soundstage happens to be quite dynamic and you can spot details in whatever type of music you are listening to. The headphones come with a long, 10 feet cable that you can easily replace in case it breaks. However, the overall quality of the cable ended up being rather amazing. Sennheiser listened to the consumers and added both 6.3mm and 3.5mm audio plugs since most amps require the former.
There were no real gripes with the headphones, at the given price, they are the best Sennheiser has to offer. A carrying case would have been a nice addition but that is something that can be ignored.
What started off as a list purely for audiophiles, turned out to have some budget level headphones that still manage to fall over the audiophile spectrum. Thanks to some amazing offerings by the likes of Sony, Sennheiser and Shure, the budget oriented audiophiles can be happy with what they have.
It’s a common fact that there is no such thing as a “perfect headphone” this is mainly because every company has a different sound stage and requirements to meet.
One pair of headphones will never sound like the other one, this isn’t bad at all because it gives the user a much needed diversity. The market will keep growing and we will keep seeing better and more affordable headphones. Till then, let this list help you decide which Hi-Fi Headphones you should buy next.